Freedom rally seeks to abolish injustice in 21st century
JOSEPH — Joseph Baptist, Summit and Christ Covenant churches along with several corporate sponsors will join forces in The Wallowa County A21 Campaign, beginning with a freedom rally on July 4.
“From Boko Harum to immigrants fleeing trafficking into the U.S., we are hearing more and more about this horrible injustice,” said Stephen Bartlow, pastor of the Joseph Baptist Church. “It’s happening right now in Oregon, and it grabs my heart because my daughter is the average age of these girls who are sex trafficked.”
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of forced labor and sex trafficking. As the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, it affects every nation across the globe.
Every 30 seconds, someone is forced into this type of bondage — modern slavery, Bartlow said. The current estimate of slaves worldwide is more than 27 million, with the average age of trafficking victims being 12 years of age. Only 1 percent to 2 percent of victims are ever rescued, and only 1 in 100,000 European traffickers are ever convicted.
“While the statistics can seem overwhelming, it is important to remember that every number represents the life of a human being,” Bartlow said.
The A21 Campaign has recognized a significant need and is committed to combating this injustice through rescuing one life at a time, he said.
The Wallowa County A21 Campaign will kick off with the following events:
• July 4 Freedom Rally — noon, Joseph Baptist Church, 107 N. Main St. The event will include live music, videos, guest speakers and a barbecue.
A Freedom Sale will follow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 5 and noon to 6 p.m. July 6 at the Joseph Baptist Church Fellowship Hall and lawn.
The community is invited to donate quality items. Donations will be accepted from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 30 to July 4 at Joseph Baptist Church. All donations are tax deductible.
For more information, visit www.thea21campaign.